Last night we announced general availability of System Center 2012 SP1, it’s great, expansive product that is absolutely key to delivering your Private Cloud, Managing your Public cloud and managing the consumerisaiton of IT. You can get the trail VHDs at the bottom of this post or download the installers– go give it a try. We’re also announcing our System Center 2012 IT Camps schedule today too!

As System Center 2012 is such a large stable of technology I thought, rather than try to cover the expanse myself, I’d get some of our MVPs to write about some of their favourite features. These guys have been using SP1 for months, their thoughts, comments, expectations and experiences helping to form the SP1 update.

We’ll start with Patrick Lownds, MVP. You can find Patrick on twitter.

System Center Virtual Machine Manger 2012 (VMM 2012) introduced the concept of being able to deploy a bare metal host. This feature allows customers to order servers from their vendor of choice and simply plug in that server and automate the deployment of Hyper-V. The Hyper-V host could either be a standalone domain joined host or it could form or be part of an already formed cluster at a later stage.

If you’re not familiar with the process, VMM 2012 leverages the baseboard management controller (BMC) to deploy an operating system image, which is contained in a VHD, together with any specific OEM drivers, that are contained in the VMM 2012 library, applies those drivers to the operating system image, enables Hyper-V, and then restarts the server.

New in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 (VMM 2012 SP1) is the ability to do deep discovery of that bare metal host. This process boots the server to perform an inventory of the hardware, using a WinPE image. Once the information is collected the server shuts down and provides VMM 2012 SP1 with information about that host i.e.  processor, memory and network interface cards.

This provides VMM 2012 SP1 with a greater insight into the hardware and allows you to configure in advance the more complex aspects of Virtual Machine Manager. For example, you could configure the use of DHCP or the use of an IP address from a pool of addresses managed by VMM, for each of the network interfaces detected, prior to deploying Hyper-V.

Next up is Graham Davies, System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP, you can find Graham’s blog, System Center Solutions here.

As SCOM 2007 R2 gave way to SCOM 2012, we saw the Avicode .Net monitoring capability evolving into Application Performance Monitoring (APM). In SCOM 2012 this was initially focused on WCF based web applications although some flexibility in what was discovered was available by configuring the relevant overrides.

SCOM 2012 SP1 has seen a huge jump forward in functionality not only in terms of what can now be discovered and monitored out of the box but also in terms of integration with Team Foundation Server (TFS). So what exactly does SCOM 2012 SP1 bring to the table:

  • The ability to monitor Windows Services, not just IIS-hosted applications.
  • Automatic Discovery of ASP.NET MVC3 and MVC4 Applications.
  • The ability to monitor SharePoint web front-end components.
  • Integration of Operations Manager and TFS

You can configure Operations Manager to allow APM alerts to generate and synchronise with TFS work items and APM exception events can be saved in IntelliTrace file format directly from Application Diagnostics enabling Developers to stay within their familiar environment to examine the complete exception call stack.

So SCOM 2012 SP1 both extends APM functionality improves the workflow between development and IT operations teams, improving efficiency and reducing the mean time to recovery for the problems detected by APM.

.Net Application Performance Monitoring Template

Integrating Operations Manager with Development Process

Finally in this post Raphael Perez, Configuration Manager MVP , you can find him on his System Center blog

Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows RT, iPhones, Androids, Linux/Unix, Mac? How can we manage them? Application Virtualization, PowerShell, Mobility, Cloud, VDI, Security, Bring your Own Device (BYOD)? How can we integrate it?

These are only few of many questions business need answer and it is simple: Configuration Manager 2012.

The Service Pack 1 of Configuration Manager brings the world together, putting in a single console for management of Microsoft and non-Microsoft systems as well as a Microsoft Cloud and any device connected to it.

SP1 also support Windows to GO USB devices, roaming profiles, folder redirection, intelligent mobile network detection, it means that SP1 will detect mobile networks (3G/4G) to prevent software deployment when data charges may apply, and many other features.

As many other Microsoft systems, SP1 gives you support for PowerShell, it means that the administrator does not need to connect to the Configuration Manager console to perform the day-to-day tasks.

We’ll hear more from the UK and Irelands MVPs here soon! Go give the Evaluation’s a try, we’ve already done most of the installation work for you! and don’t forget to sign up for our IT Camp events to learn more.

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 - Configuration Manager – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Service Manager – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Service Manager (Data Warehouse) – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Operations Manager – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Orchestrator – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 – Data Protection Manager – Evaluation (VHD)